Mauretania's wartime voyages


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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
In Humphry Jordan's book, Mauretania's voyages from No 97 to 116 are designated wartime voyages, viz 97, 98, 99 are trooping to Gallipoli, 100, 101, 102 are hospital voyages, 103 and 104 are to Canada, 105,6,7,8,9, 10, 11 are the seven American trooping voyages, but there seems no mention of 112, 13, 14, 15, 16 - are these voyages to repatriate American servicemen? I am asking because the accounts of wartime service seem to be scattered over several books and I am endeavouring to find facts and possibly write an article for here. All information and pointing out my mistakes are welcome.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
Also, I find it interesting that during her delivery voyage/maiden voyage, and her last voyage to Rosyth, she could be said to have circumnavigated the British Isles, but how strange she should have done this during her first and last voyages. (and yes I do know she went up to Tyneside after the 1921 fire)
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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Hello Ellen,
You should treat the Jordan book with care as it always accurate. I had great difficulty in tracking down the war voyages but managed in the end and most are included in my book. Unfortunately all my reference information is filed away as I have "hoovered" my brain of Mauretania and moved onto other projects.
Peter
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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Talking of accuracy (lol), that should be......You should treat the Jordan book with care as it is NOT always accurate!
Peter
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
Jordon was a writer of fiction and had several sea stories published. I do not know if he was a shipping journalist, in fact it would be interesting to me if someone could tell me just how he came to be writing a book about Mauretania. He does a good job of fitting the ship into the world of her times, but I have been told by other correspondents that his facts are to be questioned and checked out.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
Another question to all. Tom Hughes book Blue Riband of the Atlantic gives only two round voyages between Gt Britain and Mudros as a hospital ship. Other accounts give 3 voyages. Hughes account is Oct 1915 Liv'pool to Mudros. Nov Mudros to Sth'hampton. Nov Sth'hamptpn to Mudros and Dec Mudros to Southampton. I wish I could get my hands on the Cunard records, but every link I try fizzes out. MOST annoying.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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“As you have my book, look on page 31 and it will give the information you require!”

Dear Mr. Newall,

Indeed it does. But page 31 and those following also raise several questions, a few of which you hopefully will address in this forum. Can give any details about the "12-pounder gun forward" you mentioned? The Halifax photograph you have captioned as November 1916, which identifies this "gun mount", shows nothing more than her boom crutch. And literally right behind that is the cover for the companionway leading up to the forecastle steerage areas. I do not understand how a gun could be mounted in that location. What would this “12-pounder” have been fixed to? Photographs and plans appear to indicate that the bow guns installed in 1918 were mounted to existing dedicated platforms. Additionally, her curved bow bulwarks and her bow railings remain intact in your 1916 Halifax photograph. This is interesting when one compares it with the photograph on top of page 33. That top image, which you have captioned as 1915, shows her bulwarks cut straight down and her bow railings removed — something done much later and a visual clue often used to assist in assigning dates to these wartime images.

I do not understand the Mauretania’s dazzle chronology as you have written it. You discuss a harlequin dazzle pattern in 1915. But mustn’t the IWM photograph on top of page 33, which you identified as Moudros 1915, be from 1919? Again, note her bow bulwarks have been cut straight down and her bow railings removed (as well as her bow guns). These alterations to the bow were made in 1918 when she was finally armed with her intended four 6-inch B.L. bow guns; her bulwarks were cutstraight down and her fixed railings back to the bridge were removed and replaced with knotted rope. Additionally, would her stern have been built up as shown in your page 33 top illustration captioned 1915 if actually 1915 - before her hospital service? The well known IWM image of her in being coaled in post September 1915 hospital guise, which is in your book on page 30, shows her with her original, gracefully curved bulwarks intact and without the later stern additions as does the hospital photograph on your page 32. Images of her at Halifax in 1916 and laid up in 1917 also show the original bulwarks, rails and do not depict the later stern additions. For these reasons, the photograph on top of page 33 cannot be from 1915.

In any event, didn’t Norman Wilkinson first develop the idea of dazzle in May 1917? Wasn’t the first ship to be painted into a "trial" Wilkinson dazzle pattern the S.S. Industry, whose scheme was not even applied until 1917? How could the Mauretania come to bear a harlequin dazzle scheme the year the Lusitania was lost, as you’ve written, when vessels were still in black or grey (as shown in the top photograph on page 30) and the full-blown (last) dazzle scheme depicted in the top illustration on page 33, captioned 1915, had yet to be conceived?

And speaking of the 1918 harlequin scheme as you described it, what is your source for the possible use of reds, blues and yellows? Other than one artistically ambitious, but errant, apparently post-war colored Cunard poster or advert (originally a sepia Signal Corps photograph), I am unaware of any reds or other strong colors used on the Mauretania. It is my understanding, from looking at the original Wilkinson design for her longest lasting dazzle scheme and several sample color charts (all pastels for lack of a better word), that Mauretania’s basic colors were two shades of blue and a gray. A port side observational sketch of one of her two earlier schemes, drawn from one-half mile away in clear conditions at 10:20 am one March morning in 1918, resides in the National Archives and shows her to be in blues, grays, a darker color and possibly lime green at the stern (which may or may not have been the case). This earlier scheme, of which there are published photographs, is not illustrated or discussed in your book despite your past claim of showing all her schemes. There is also an ONI starboard rendering of this same earlier scheme (which differs on the port design, just as the harlequin pattern differed between port and starboard) in the National Archives documenting the same colors of blue and gray with lime green. The original Wilkinson designs for the last scheme, which specifies just two blues and a gray, depicts both port and starboard patterns. The photo at the bottom of page 33 is captioned as yet another, later scheme from 1918 (using roughly the same words as in the text - “…the third was a more traditional, stripy pattern.”, page 31). But is this not the port version of the same scheme shown in the 1919 starboard photograph on the top of page 33, which you have captioned as Moudros 1915? From the photographic record, you have shown only two different schemes.

You also show the painting by Burnett Poole C. 1919 on page 30, captioned as her original dazzle scheme, which you've stated was applied in 1915. How can this be when the painting clearly shows her rust-stained and armed at the bow with four B.L. guns not added until 1918 as stated in your text? Her "original" or earlier 1918 schemes are quite different in design as can be observed in the renderings described above in the National Archives and the scheme shown on page 33 middle. This same scheme in the Poole canvas is shown again in your photograph on page 35 and there identified by association as December 1918; this scheme was clearly her last as she bore two earlier schemes (one of which you have shown middle right page 33 and the scheme described in the March 1918 observational rendering mentioned above which you did not show).

The photo on page 33 - left middle — is captioned as armed, but where she is armed in that image? Her bow guns have been removed and the wear to her paintwork also indicate a date after she was disarmed. This same wear can be seen in Signal Corps photographs of her being disarmed at the bow. The middle right photograph on page 33 — it is one of the two early schemes mentioned above - could you place a date and cite a source for the image as it is without caption and uncredited?

I look forward to reading your response. I’d like very much to understand your chronology as presented.

Best wishes,
Eric Longo
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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"Unfortunately all my reference information is filed away as I have "hoovered" my brain of Mauretania and moved onto other projects."

Hello Eric,
As I posted this message a few weeks back, I am not sure about the point of your lengthy message.

All I can say is that all my source material is listed in the book. I have also had 5 books and hundreds of articles published (3 this month in Ships Monthly, World of Cruising and Ships in Focus Record)and my reputation has been built upon on the accuracy of my work, which uses prime sources wherever possible.

Interestingly, the Mauretania book has been one of my most successful books to date and yet you are the only person who has come up with any negative comment.

Best wishes,
Peter

http://www.nauticalbooks.co.uk/peternewall/index.asp
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hello again Peter,

My point is the same as it was last year. Simply and only the point you raised on Oct. 8 - accuracy - something I also value greatly.
As you've just said, your reputation is built on accuracy. Unfortunately and respectfully, your book does contain a number of errors and contradictions in just these few pages. Therefore, I had hoped this detailed information regarding the correct interpretation of her photographic record might be of some interest to you should your book ever be reprinted.
I too have been away from my own Mauretania research for far too long, recently doing restoration work for one of our National Galleries and now gearing up to illustrate another non-liner book. But my love of this great ship and the telling of her story always manages to reign me back in. I think we can agree she does not get the microscopic attention afforded another less fortunate vessel. Thank you for responding and good luck to you with your work.

With best wishes,
Eric
 

Peter Newall

Member
Aug 19, 2006
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"Unfortunately, your book does contain a number of errors and contradictions in just these few pages"

I take exception to your false claims Eric as these are based on your opinions and not on absolute fact. If I have any doubt about a fact, I will always couch the words accordingly as I have done in all my published work.

I guess that anyone reading your remarks Eric will see them for what they are i.e. sour grapes at not having found anyone interested in publishing your work in hard copy!

In fact I look forward to seeing your first article in print........

Peter
PS I do not wish to get into any further debate with you about this subject. If any other negative comments are made by you about my book I shall ask the webmaster to remove your postings.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
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Dec 29, 2000
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Gentlemen---

Please keep this discussion civil. Discussion of, questions about and disagreements over facts or content are certainly permitted here. Personal criticism is not.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
She who walks in No Man's Land gets machine-gunned from both sides. My interest in the Mauretania's war effort stems first from my admiration of her as a ship unrivalled by very many (my opinion) and secondly because she played a role within the Dardenelles campaign. I am trying to find out what British regiments she transported to Mudros and whether they may have been the regiments that relieved the New Zealanders at Chanok Bair; and who were driven off by the Turks the night after relieving our troops.
Furthermore, I have on my desk a small book entitled The New Zealand Hospital Ship Maheno, the first voyage July 1915 to Jan 1916. On page 43 is a photo (very small) entitled Mudros Harbour with English battleship and the Mauretania. It may be this photo was taken from Maheno, certainly it was deemed important enough to include a photo of Maury in this book. There is also a much better photo of Aquitania as a hospital ship, entitled Largest Hospital ship afloat (which I will post if I find it is not copyrighted.0 The author (or compiler) of this book was H.E. the Earl of Liverpool, who was Governor of New Zealand, and the proceeds of sale were given to the Red Cross.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Ellen, All,

For any Mauretania fans out there interested in all this, and for accuracy, I am pleased to correct myself. I have finally sussed out the correct dazzle chronology for the R.M.S. Mauretania/H.M.S. Tuberose.
There were only two schemes total, from 3/18 until before 5/19, with different patterns on port and starboard which has caused confusion. Some published dazzle images have been reproduced backwards which further muddled the interpretation to some, seemingly increasing the number of schemes she wore to as many as four and clouding the dates they were applied.
I have spent a lot of time on this now, and have obtained good scans of clearly dated co<font color="808080">l<font color="000000">or original plans and renderings for each pattern, both port and starboard, for both schemes.
My sources are the United States Navy, the Office of Naval Intelligence, The National Archives, the Imperial War Museum and the Signal Corps. The materials from these sources, combined with the photographic record, support my conclusions. I will describe these schemes in detail and provide the "call numbers" for these valuable materials at a later date.

I am now working on the 1914-1917 appearances of R.M.S. Mauretania/H.M.H.S. Mauretania/G1620. I do not yet have visual materials from such solid sources such as those above for her 1914-1917 service and am left to work with only my unpublished candids, photocards and the relatively few published images from this period. However, careful observation of very minor details will again allow chronological interpretation of this earlier phase of her war service.

With very best wishes,
Eric
happy.gif
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

If anyone has, or knows of, an accurately dated photograph of the Mauretania in Moudros in 1915 with a dazzle scheme I'd love to see it. To date from 1915 such a photograph of the Mauretania would have to exhibit intact curved bow bulwarks, intact fixed railings back to the bridge and a not-built-up stern. Those specific modifications were made in March 1918 as the photographic record clearly indicates. It would also mean a non-harlequin pattern as these more "severe" geometric designs were developed later. The earliest of these "severe" schemes I have actually seen are Wilkinson's Ministry of Shipping/Transport Department color renderings drawn in spring/summer of 1917.

As I understand it, although the French were a bit ahead (the Service de Camouflage was created in about February 1915 with the British counterpart not being formed until late that year or early 1916), color camouflage was first presented to the Admiralty in 1914 (possibly before the war) by Zoologist/Embryologist Sir John Graham Kerr. His ideas were likely based on his observations of color camouflage in nature, and rejected. He may have used the term "dazzle" but at this point the camouflage schemes were not what we think of today as dazzle. Some ships were painted in increasingly light shades from waterline up and others were painted in solid pastel colors such as pink (the battleship Ramillies was painted pink and remained in this guise until a proper dazzle scheme was applied in late 1917). Some did bear the beginnings of broken shapes. At this time though, most ships were painted into dusky gray schemes, as correctly identified photographs of the Mauretania at Moudros show.

In late 1915 or January 1916, the British Camouflage Service was formed under the name Special Works Park of Royal Engineers. From all I can gather, Dazzle was conceived as we know it (although more curvilinear in this early stage) by Norman Wilkinson while on Patrol in The English Channel in March 1917, the same year the term "dazzle camouflage" is said to be coined by him.

Dazzle seems to have been first applied as a trial design to the merchant ship S.S. Industry in 1917 and then to the H.M.S. Alsation in August 1917. The earliest plan for a dazzle scheme I am aware of for the Mauretania is dated September 1917 (Design A, Type 19, by Wilkinson), although this design was actually applied to another vessel. The new dazzle designs, originally intended for merchant vessels, were rapidly applied to British warships with many, many vessels sporting varying designs by the end of 1917. It was adopted as a valuable concept by the US in late 1917 or early 1918. To my knowledge the first dazzle scheme was applied to the Mauretania when she was recalled in March of 1918.

I am looking for any information to augment, dispel or correct what I have written here. I am looking to learn here, so many thanks in advance!

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

A few more observations. There are relatively few clear photographs depicting the Mauretania's first dazzle scheme, observed by the U.S.N. in March 1918. It does not change a heck of a lot regarding this discussion but after looking, yet again, it appears her bow railings were removed immediately or just after she was recalled in March, but her bow bulwarks retained their curve for a month or two.
What is really interesting though is the presence, or lack, of her second crow's nest in the various images in her photographic record. I just finished looking at every photograph I own and can find from 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919. This second, higher nest was not photographed nor recorded until the March 1918 U.S.N. observational rendering. However, this nest does appear in the image mentioned above - the top of page 33, dated to 1915 and stated to be taken at Moudros. In this photograph (the well known starboard I.W.M. photograph Q-48349), the Mauretania is in her last dazzle scheme, armed at the stern only and displaying her built-up aft deck house. Therefore, I still believe this photograph can date no earlier than 1919.
Despite my efforts so far here and elsewhere, I can not locate anyone who believes such a dazzle scheme is possible on any R.N. or U.S.N. vessel in 1915 - one author specifically stated not prior to 1917.
If anyone knows of any photograph showing this second nest before 1918, please post it or in what book/website you have seen it.

Many thanks and best wishes,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Ellen,

I don't know if you have In Great Waters by the Mauretania's Captain McNeil - there is a copy at LuxuryLinerRow.com in the "Books" section for a very good price - 1932 first edition as well - for $32. I've seen it for as much as $60.

Best,
Eric
 
Oct 31, 2008
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HI, i wonder if i could ask for help? We have found out that my grandfather was a chief steward on board the mauretuenia,(poss 1935-45) how, could we find more information , on him, and details of his signing on papers, any help would be most welcome. thanks all
 
Nov 14, 2007
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A search on Abebooks.com also turns up several copies of In Great Waters, in both 1932 and 1935 editions, with prices ranging from about $12 to $34. I wasn't aware of that one before, but I just ordered a copy for myself. What are some other "must have" books that every Mauretania fan should have in their collection?
 

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